Artificial 'nano-food' could soon show up at a store near you
Monday, December 06, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The scientific community has once again caught food-tampering fever. Recent reports indicate that food scientists are busy developing nanoparticle-modified (NM) food that could one day end up on your dinner plate -- and you may never even know about it. By shifting around nanoparticles, food scientists say that fat-free foods can taste like full-fat foods, and they can be programmed to digest more slowly--two changes that some say may help reverse the obesity epidemic.
But most of this research is going on in secret because of fears over how the public will respond. Like genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), nano-modifying food involves literally changing its molecular properties, which has never been proven safe. So naturally, consumers are likely to reject NM food if given the choice.
"These particles could be hazardous and we need to know more about their effects both in the body and in the environment," said Frans Kampers, coordinator of research on food nanotechnology at Wageningen and Research Center in the Netherlands. "Since these particles are very small, they can…enter cells or even the nucleus of a cell if they have the right characteristics."
The stated goal of nanotechnology research in food is to create foods that behave differently than real ones in terms of digestion, assimilation, taste and nutritional value. By altering the "nano-structure" of food, so to speak, NM food can be programmed to make people feel fuller faster, for instance. And nutrients in food can also be nano-encapsulated to release at timed intervals to specific parts of the body.
Even though NM food has yet to see the light day, the European Union (EU) is already taking proactive steps to make sure that, if it does make it to consumers, NM food will at least be regulated and labeled. Thus, the EU has developed a research project called NanoLyse to address the "very limited knowledge [that is] available on the potential impact of engineered nanoparticles on consumers' health."